The Letters Between Winston Churchill and His Mother
Where: The General Society Library
20 W. 44th St.
212-840-1840 Price: Members $30; $40 Non-Members
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“My pen wanders recklessly,” wrote Winston Churchill of the sparkling letters he exchanged with his mother, Jennie Jerome, over a period of 40 years. David Lough’s lecture, based on the first-ever edited selection of their correspondence, sheds new light on Churchill’s early emotional, intellectual and political development. Spanning from 1881 to1921, these missives follow Churchill’s life of adventure and political ambition, covering many milestones: his army service in India, time as a prisoner of war, election to Parliament, resignation after Gallipoli, and his return to politics in 1917.
His mother’s life, by contrast, follows a downward spiral: her second marriage founders and she becomes a lonely figure, moving forlornly around the country homes of her wealthy friends. Their letters disclose an intense relationship between a demanding mother and a difficult son, both gifted writers who reveal much about themselves and the time period. Churchill’s missives reveal his personality as a young child and a truculent teen, looking to his mother to fix everything—which she usually did. Jerome’s letters reveal a dynamic woman leveraging limited agency in a sexist society.
Brimming with gossip, name-dropping and chutzpah, and populated by an impressive cast of late Victorian and Edwardian characters, Mr. Lough’s lecture will enrich our understanding of Britain’s most celebrated statesman. He will offer poignant insights into Churchill’s relationship with the woman whose advice and loving encouragement set him on the path to power.
David Lough read history at Oxford University, where he won first class honors. Mr. Lough then had a long and fruitful career in finance, starting in Asia and investment banking, before founding a private banking business in 1988. Mr. Lough is a former member of the London Stock Exchange and Fellow of the Chartered Securities Institute. He returned to history in his retirement and coupled it with his experience in finance to write his first book, the best-seller No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money (2015). His new book, My Darling Winston: The Letters Between Winston Churchill and His Mother (October 2018), explores the unusual—and under-appreciated—relationship between Winston Churchill and his American mother, Jennie Jerome, as revealed by the private letters that they exchanged over a period of forty years.